Over 300 species of grass exist in British Columbia, playing important roles in agricultural and grazing practices.
Grass can be distinguished from sedges and rushes by their stems which are round in cross section, are jointed, and are almost always hollow. The leaves of most grasses sheath the stem before diverging as a blade. Where the sheath and the blade join, there are two distinctive organs: the ligule ( thin membrane of fringe or hairs forming a collar around the stem) and the auricles (ear-like lobes). Grass flowers are small but complex and are borne in the axils of a small inner bract, the palea, and a large outer bract, the lemma, which may have a bristle -like awn. The floret consists of the flower, lemma, and palea. The spikelet consists of the florets and glumes. They may be borne in an open, branching inflorescence (a panicle or raceme), or directly to the stem (a spike).
Specimens In the Field
Specimens Pressed for Collection
References: Lloyd, Parish, and Coupe. Plants of the Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest. 1996. B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing.